I've been keeping busy with my U.S. research of Ronald McDonald House Charities! I interviewed Katie Underhill from the St. Louis Chapter, Laura Doyle from the Cleveland Chapter, Sarah Cockerill at the Global Office, as well as an outside Communication Consultant, Mark Nylander. So what have I learned so far for my Global Advertising and Public Relations class?
Different Audiences, Different Strategies
RMHC has several different audience groups--families who are staying or have stayed in a House, volunteers, private donors, corporate donors, and potential donors. It sounds obvious to say that different social media strategies would be used to target different audiences, but what surprised me about my research is that RMHC Chapters see different audience groups across different social media platforms. Both Underhill and Doyle told me that they use Facebook to communicate with families, and they use Twitter to communicate with corporate donors and other organizations.
Underhill told me that the St. Louis Chapter uses Pinterest to coordinate the volunteers participating in the Family Night Dinner program. Globally, Cockerill said that the Global Office uses Pinterest to put the different Chapters in contact with each other. The Cleveland Chapter does not have a Pinterest account. When I talked to Nylander about how many social media pages an organization like RMHC or its Chapters should have, he said that its more important to be fully committed to maintaining the pages an organization does have, rather than spreading resources too thin and having a page with no activity.
Doyle has some good ideas for tagging other organizations and getting the most exposure for each post.
My Plan for London
There are 5 RMHC Houses in London, and 10 in the London/South East region. Not all of the Houses have their own individual social media pages, so I’m going to talk to at least one person who manages social media for a House outside of London. For that interview, I will be talking to Michelle Kirk of the Brighton House. I might also try to speak with Sally Hinton of the Manchester House, but that will probably be a phone interview as Manchester is a bit far from London.
I will also be interviewing Maria Surcel at the RMHC U.K. National Office. She also helped me select which Houses to contact for interviews by suggesting Kirk and Hinton.
To get an expert’s opinion, I will interview Rhodri Harries, Managing Director of Kaizo PR and Digital Communications, an agency specializing in social media and online strategies.
In May of 2013, I had the opportunity to participate in a research trip to London. I conducted research comparing how nonprofits use social media for public relations in the U.K. versus in the U.S. The entries in the blog contain my findings.